This whole living in an “urban jungle” thing is getting really tired – yes, we see the buildings. Yeah, we smell the fumes. Tell us something we don’t know. How about this: New York is a fishing paradise. You can pull in huge striped bass, bluefish, weakfish and fluke – the “Big Four” of the Northeast – everywhere from Great Kills on Staten Island to Jamaica Bay in Queens to just off the FDR in Manhattan. “A lot of people don’t know how good the fishing is,” says Gerry Bethge, executive editor at Salt Water Sportsman. “Some of them might be turned off by the idea of fishing in the East River, but it’s the same fish you’re catching off Jersey.
” To have a great fishing weekend in the city, all you need to know is where and when to go (see list of the top spots) and what to bring to the party. The when part varies. Basically the water has to warm up a bit from the winter chill. That happens soon, first in shallow areas like Little Neck Bay, off the Cross Island Expressway in Queens. As the April sun heats the flats, temperatures rise into the 40s and the season’s first stripers appear. Once the water temp reaches the magic number, 50 degrees, the rest of the gang show up, and soon, they’ll be inhaling your bait Next, you’ll need equipment and bait, a relatively straightforward endeavor. For saltwater fishing, sturdiness is key: Equip yourself with an 8- to 11-foot rod rated for a 12- to 40-pound test line and 1-6 ounces of weight. (This varies, too – if you’re not going to be throwing out big chunks of bait and heavy sinkers, you can go lighter; if you want a shot at the big boys, beef up a bit.) Inquire at the tackle store. Next, get a spinning reel with room for 200 yards of 20-pound test line. (Basic monofilament’s a good, inexpensive place to start.) Twenty-pound is plenty – the world-record striper, at more than 78 pounds, was caught on 20-pound test. You can spend as little or as much as you want on a rod and reel – Kmart or Sports Authority both offer functional setups for $40. (A midlevel combo would go for around $90-$100. Brand names to look for: Penn, Daiwa, Okuma, Tica, Shimano, Shakespeare.) END OF THE LINE Now you’re ready for “terminal tackle,” the stuff for the end of your line. That means hooks and sinkers if you’re fishing with bait, and lures if you’re fishing with, well, lures. Ask at the tackle store; they’ll be happy to get you started. A good basic rig for New York City fishing is the “fish finder”: You connect a 3- or 4-ounce sinker onto a clip that slides up the line, then attach your hook and leader to a swivel at the end of the line. On this rig, a fish can pick up the bait and start to swim away without feeling the weight, making it great for fishing off bridges, piers and the beach. Speaking of the beach, if you want to relax a bit while you fish, get a sand spike. This is a hollow tube with a pointy end that you shove in the sand. Toss out your bait, put the rod in the spike, and wait for the rod to do its little “fish on” dance; you’ll know it when you see it. And if you’re at a pier or a bridge, you might want to consider a bungee cord to secure your rod to the rail. A good-size striper can yank a 10-foot rod away in an instant. Beach anglers would also do well to get a pair of chest-high waders. They may not be very Brooklyn – “Yo! Mr. Field & Stream!
” – but they enable you to get out farther in still-chilly water and lob the bait. Laugh if you will, but a nice set of breathable waders can be your new best friend. Hungry fish make for good catches, so lastly, you’ll need bait. “I use a lot of soft plastics [shad and bunker imitations],” says Bethge. “But live bait is a preferred surf-fishing tactic.
” Every one of the Big Four is hungry for different things at different times, but the two most prevalent species, stripers and blues, love clams and bunker. The main thing to remember is to get them fresh, if possible; it outfishes frozen every time. Now that you’re outfitted, it’s time to plan your fishing schedule. Some experts say one should fish an hour or two before the high tide and an hour or two after (check saltwatertides.
com), while some advise fishing during the full moon. Many say night fishing is unbeatable (this writer loves dawn). But most experts will agree there is really only one best time to fish: whenever you can. SIDEBAR: TOP 10 SPOTS FOR CASTING A LINE Gerry Bethge of Salt Water Sportsman says, “Striped bass are everywhere in the lower New York Harbor, and the fishing off the Rockaways is superb.
” That said, here are 10 productive spots: 1 Jamaica Bay, Cross Bay Blvd. Just south of Howard Beach and just over the Joseph Addabbo Bridge. Pull over to the lots on the left or right and fish off the bridge, by the rocks or down the beach. Incredible action in late May and June for bluefish. 2 Canarsie Pier, Belt Parkway, Brooklyn. Exit 13 off the Belt. This is a huge fishing pier with a prime Jamaica Bay location. You can catch anything here all during the season, and the camaraderie is fantastic. In the winter, die-hards pull in tons of herring. 3 Gantry Plaza State Park, Long Island City, 50th St. at the East River. A state-of-the-art fishing pier with knockout views of the Manhattan skyline. Plenty of stripers and blues in season. You’ll lose a rig or two, but it’s worth it. 4 Valentino Pier, end of Coffey St., at Ferris, Red Hook. Another new-ish city pier, with good fishing and views of New York Harbor. 5 69th St. Pier, Bay Ridge, end of Bay Ridge Ave. (69th St.) and Shore Road. Nice views of upper New York Bay, with excellent fishing. Adjacent to Owls Head Park. 6 Stuyvesant Cove, E. 20th St. and FDR Drive, Manhattan. When they’re biting, you get some real “UN” gatherings here. Another Manhattan spot: East River at 90th St.; access via John Finley Walk Way, along the FDR. 7 Great Kills State Park, Hylan Blvd. and Buffalo St., Staten Island. A lovely park with both ocean and bay fishing available. (You can park and hoof it to beach or use a Gateway sticker and park near the action; see note.) 8 Breezy Point, Beach 222nd Road, Queens. A prime location for surfcasters seeking stripers and blues. When they’re biting you can throw out Nathan’s hot dogs and they’ll take the bait. The parking lot (you’ll need that Gateway sticker) is near a bayside beach. If you’re energetic, you can walk all the way around to the ocean jetty, or splurge on a 4×4 permit and drive there. 9 Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn. Just before the Marine Parkway Bridge, Exit 11S off the Belt Parkway. An underused spot that lets you fish in the shadow of the Marine Parkway Bridge. (Gateway sticker.) 10 Jones Beach, Field 6, L.
I. One of the easiest (and best) places to fish off the beach. The lot is massive, there’s plenty of room to fish, a snack bar and, joy of joys, a bathroom. (NOTE: To expand the scope of your fishing, get a fishing tag for Gateway National Recreation Area; it allows you to park in special lots up close to superb spots. They’re available at Fort Tilden every day; call 718-318-4300.) SIDEBAR: FOR HOOKS, LINES & SINKERS If you’re new to New York City fishing, just ask the staff at one of these bait and tackle shops for help with your rig. Note that no license is needed for saltwater anglers. – Capitol Fishing Tackle, 218 W. 23rd St., (212) 929-6132. The top spot in Manhattan, with great selection and service. – Cross Bay Bait and Tackle, 164-26 Cross Bay Blvd., Howard Beach, Queens, (718) 835-1018. Knowledgeable staff and plenty of fresh bait, tackle and rigs. If you’re fishing -Jamaica Bay or the Rockaways, hit this place or Mike’s. – Capt. Mike’s, 158-35 Cross Bay Blvd., Howard Beach, Queens, (718) 843-3800. Decent fresh-bait selection, very little tackle, but they’re open at 5 a.
m. That’s what I’m talkin’ about! – Bernie’s Bait and Tackle, 3035 Emmons Ave., Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, (718) 646-7600. A full selection of everything and just a skip away from the docks for all the party boats. – Peace Token, 53-19 Roosevelt Ave., Woodside, Queens, (718) 565-2376. The bunker and clams are frozen, but the selection of gear is excellent. – Great Kills Bait and Tackle, 4044 Hylan Blvd., Staten Island, (718) 356-0055. Great selection of bait and tackle, and a custom building service to boot. – Sports Authority, 51-30 Northern Blvd., Woodside, Queens, (718) 205-4075. No bait, but tons of rods, reels, lures and other equipment. Service can be spotty, but if you know what you’re looking for, Sports Authority is a good source. – Causeway Bait and Tackle, 3031 Merrick Road (exit W6W off Wantagh Parkway), Wantagh, L.
I., (516) 785-3223. If you’re going to Jones Beach, stop here first.
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SOMETHING'S FISHY. New York City is an angling mecca, if you know where the 'Big 4' are biting have 1745 words, post on www.nydailynews.com at April 9, 2006. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.